At that moment I felt weariness and something like revulsion against all this bustle, this whole brutal and spiritless reality. It seemed to me high time to put an end to my torment. If I was not allowed to play my innocent artist's game undisturbed, then I must have recourse to those sterner arts to which I had devoted so many years of my life. Without magic this World was unbearable.


I called to mind the Chinese formula, stood for a minute with suspended breath, and freed myself from the illusion of reality. I then affably requested the guards to be patient for a moment longer since I had to step into my picture and look after something in the train. They laughed in their usual way, for they considered me mentally unbalanced.


Then I made myself small and stepped into my picture, got aboard the little train, and rode in the little train into the black tunnel. For a while sooty smoke continued to be visible, pouring out of the round hole, then the smoke dispersed and disappeared and with it the entire picture and I with the picture. The guards remained behind in great embarrassment.


* Hermann Hesse, Kurzgefasster Lebenslauf, in Gesammelte Werke in 12 Bänden, 6. Bd., S. 391 ff.

© Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin.